Air conditioning units that recirculate the same air in the room or building should be turned off or with the windows open to prevent the spread of the CCP virus, health experts have said.
Dr. Shaun Fitzgerald, a fellow at the Royal Academy of Engineering, told The Telegraph newspaper there are two types of air conditioning devices: One that takes air from the outside and the others are ones that use the same air from inside the room, known as a “split” air conditioner that typically does not have ducts to the outside.
Split air conditioning units don’t provide a “dedicated source of outside air supply into a room … [and] could be responsible for recirculating and spreading airborne viral particles into the path of socially distanced users,” said a bulletin from the Chartered Institution of Building Service Engineers, which Fitzgerald worked on, according to the Telegraph.
Fitzgerald said the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, through split air conditioning units is to open a window or door or not use them.
“The recommended strategy now, if you have one of these split units, is to throw the window open and sacrifice your desire for a cold or cooler environment. If there is a modicum of wind it will move the air around. If you can’t open a window turn the unit off,” he remarked.
Dr. Julian Tang, a consultant virologist at Leicester Royal Infirmary, also issued a warning about air conditioning units.
“If you’re sitting underneath an air conditioning unit it might create a situation where you could spread the virus around,” he said. “Warm air will go over the coils and the air conditioning unit won’t filter any virus or fungus and it may serve to disseminate any infected plume.”
Tang noted that the CCP virus is believed to thrive in colder conditions, including those produced by air conditioners.
Edward Nardell, professor of medicine and of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS), also noted that air conditioners could help the spread of the virus.
“The states that, in June, are already using a lot of air conditioning because of high temperatures are also the places where there’s been greater increases in spread of COVID-19, suggesting more time indoors as temperatures rise,” Nardell said last month in a news release. “The same [thing] happens in wintertime, with more time indoors.”
Nardell noted that due to hot temperatures outside and “as people go indoors in hot weather and the rebreathed air fraction goes up, the risk of infection is quite dramatic.”